Source: NJ.com Health
While president-elect Donald Trump campaigned on a platform to ditch Obamacare, the Republican Speaker of the House raised eyebrows over the weekend when he indicated Medicare would have to be reformed as well.
Rep. Paul Ryan has advocated reforms to Medicare that would trim its cost to the federal budget. Proposals include phasing it out and replacing it with vouchers that would allow recipients to buy insurance in the private market, called a “Medicare Exchange.”
Nearly 1.5 million New Jersey residents are insured by Medicare. That’s roughly 17 percent of the state’s population, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s figures for 2015.
And with the Baby Boomer generation reaching the age of 65 in unprecedented numbers, the state’s pool of Medicare recipients is growing at about 33,000 enrollees a year.
Most policy discussion about making such a sweeping change in Medicare includes the possibility that current Medicare recipients would see their benefits remain unchanged. Any new arrangement would be aimed at workers who are too young to be Medicare recipients yet.
While most people think of Medicare as the health insurance for older Americans, it is also the insurance used by people of all ages who are on disability, including children with multiple handicaps.
In New Jersey, people on disability account for 13 percent of Medicare enrollees; the rest are 65 and older.
Medicare was first enacted by the Johnson Administration in 1965, to provide relief to elderly citizens who lacked any kind of health insurance.
Trump himself gave almost no attention to Medicare during his campaign, but Ryan has said that Obamacare and Medicare are intertwined: Repealing and replacing Obamacare will necessitate some change in Medicare.